FARGO — A group that pushed for the legalization of marijuana last year plans to submit a second petition next week in an attempt to get the issue on the ballot in 2020.
David Owen, the leader of Legalize ND, told The Forum Friday, Nov. 29, the petition that would allow his group to collect signatures could be submitted to the Secretary of State Office Monday, Dec. 2, or Tuesday, Dec. 3. If approved, the organization would have to gather 13,452 signatures by July 6 to put it on the ballot for the 2020 general election.
“Signatures won’t be a problem,” he said.
Nearly 60% of North Dakotans who cast their ballots last year voted against the group’s measure to legalize marijuana. Some said the language in the proposal was too vague.
This year’s petition is 37 pages long and is more specific. The statutory initiated measure that would change North Dakota Century Code would allow anyone who is at least 21 years old to possess up to 2 ounces of recreational marijuana, require the drug to be purchased from a licensed and state-regulated facility and expunge “low-level marijuana and paraphernalia possession charges from criminal records.”
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Residents would not be allowed to grow their own marijuana, use it in a public place or have it in the passenger area of a vehicle.
Legalize ND’s efforts are not related to another marijuana measure that would change the state constitution. Submitted in July, the proposed constitutional initiative would allow residents to consume cannabis and possess, grow, process or transport 12 cannabis plants for personal use. Like the Legalize ND measure, the constitutional changes would not allow residents to use marijuana in public, and only those ages 21 or older could consume it.
That measure was approved for circulation on July 22, and 26,904 signatures are due by Feb. 10 to place it on the ballot for the primary election in June.
Statutory initiatives need enough signatures to represent 2% of North Dakota's population, or 13,452, while constitutional initiatives need 4%, or 26,904, according to the Secretary of State Office.
Legalize ND plans to hold a fundraising event beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at the Aquarium in Fargo.